Serial Saturday #20: Solving The Murder

The Chief lived in an elegant house with a red door on the outskirts of Jinning. "Nice house," Wei-Ting said as he and Pei-Shan walked up to it.

"It pays to be Chief," Pei-Shan replied. They reached the front door and Pei-Shan rang the bell. After a moment, they heard the sound of footsteps, the door opened and-

"Oh, it's you." The woman looked at Pei-Shan with distaste.

"Good to see you, too, Shuchen," Pei-Shan replied. "Is he in?"

Shuchen sighed. "Is it important?"

"Well, we're pretty sure we solved a murder," Pei-Shan replied. "Does that count as important enough for you?"

Shuchen hissed in irritation. "Fine," she snapped. "Come in, but stay in the entryway. I'll go get him."

Pei-Shan and Wei-Ting stepped into the entryway and Shuchen closed the door behind them.

"A pleasure as always, Shuchen," Pei-Shan said. 

Shuchen replied with a string of pungent curse words that made Pei-Shan grin. Then she stalked back into the house, leaving them alone in the entryway.

After a moment, the Chief arrived. "I see you've put my wife in a wonderful mood, Pei-Shan, so thank you for that."

"You're welcome."

"So why are you bothering me here? Neither of you is due back at work for another two days."

"We've been busy," Pei-Shan said.

"Doing what?"

"Solving the murder."

~

It took a twenty-minute argument- mainly with Shuchen- before the Chief agreed to come back to the precinct with them. Then they made another phone call and Pei-Shan waited in the empty lobby until the front doors opened and-

"Detective Hwang," Pei-Shan said.

"Detective Pei_Shan," he replied. "I thought you were on suspension."

"Came back early," she replied. "Had a break in the case we took to the Chief."

"Is that what I'm doing here?"

"Yeah," Pei_Shan said. "We're really hoping you can help us out with this."

"Happy to help however I can," Hwang said. "Where's the Chief?"

"Oh we're upstairs," Pei-Shan replied. "Follow me."

"So what was the break in the case?" Hwang asked as they reached the second floor.

"A shipwreck over in Penghu County."

Reaching the conference room door, Pei-Shan opened it, holding the door for Detective Hwang. As he stepped into the room, Wei-Ting stood.

"Detective Hwang, I must inform you that you're criminally suspected of the crime of murder. You have the right to remain silent and you do not have to make a statement against your will. You may retain a defense attorney and if eligible you may ask for legal assistance and you may request investigation of evidence favorable to you. Do you understand these rights?"

"Yes, of course, I do," Hwang said, looking confused as he sat down. "But what is this about?"

"Where were you the night of the murder, Hwang?" The Chief asked.

"With Tan-"

"You weren't with Tan," Pei-Shan said. "His alibi checks out, yours doesn't."

"Where were you, Hwang?" The Chief asked again. "No more equivocations." The Chief reached forward and grabbed the remote and turned the monitor at the far end of the room on. "This in Inspector Hu from the Penghu County Police, Hwang." The Chief said. "Last chance. Where were you the night of the murder?"

"I was-"

The Chief slammed his fist down on the table. "Inspector Hu, if you please." Hu nodded. The prisoner from Penghu County was shoved in front of the camera and Hwang shot to his feet. The prisoner pointed at the camera. "That's him! He did it!"

Hwang sank back into his chair. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his badge. He put it on the table and shoved it across to the Chief.

"I'll take that defense attorney now."

~~

Mei-Shan was sitting in the living room of the villa in the dark. She heard the sound of keys being fumbled for at the front door and then, the door opened and a moment after that, the lights turned on.

The man froze at the sight of her and Me-Shan brought her finger up to her lips to indicate he should be silent. He nodded, looking tense.

"Mr. Secretary," Mei-Shan said.

"Are you here to kill me?" He asked.

"No," Mei-Shan replied. "But you know that it's just a matter of time before the MSS arranges for you to have an accident."

He said nothing to that.

"Your daughter is dead," Mei-Shan said.

"I don't believe you," he replied.

"There's a file folder on the table next to you," Mei-Shan said. "The proof is in there."

He stepped over and opened the folder. To his credit, he didn't visibly react to the grisly photos. He had been active in Chinese politics too long for that.

Mei-Shan stood. "I'm here to offer you a way out," she said. "If you want to take us up on it, be on the 11 o'clock ferry from Gulangyu tomorrow. Stay by the bow. We'll take care of the rest."

"And if I'm not on the ferry?"

"Then you can take your chances with the MSS."

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